By J & C (the tell-it-as-it-is food critics)
Ed’s Note: Food Finds is a review segment by our contributors — Metro Manila-based entrepreneurs, J & C.
Voucher Used: None
Number of Diners: 4 Adults
The first time we discovered this Korean dining place around 8 years ago, we were so excited. The place looked very clean, welcoming and most of all authentic. The ambience was very homey and the sight of lots of Korean diners got us uber thrilled. Today, the place is still as clean and as relaxed as it was before.
What We Ordered:
Set A (Japche, Ojingo Bakum, Beef Kalbi, Pork Bulgogi, 4 Cups of Rice, and 4 Glasses of Iced Tea) @ PhP1,500
NOTE: We had the ojingo bakum (stir-fried squid) changed to someori kuk bap (cow face soup with assorted vegetables). Both of the dishes had the same price.
Free Banchan (assorted appetizers served in small dishes)
These starters, which can later also serve as side dishes, are great for whetting the appetite. There usually are 6 different varieties and one of it is always kimchi (fermented cabbage). The other 5 differ from time to time, but are normally scheduled according to the days of the week. Most of them are savory or spicy, and are usually pickled or fermented vegetables. Special mention are our favorites, candied/caramelized sweet potatoes and the sesame-flavored spinach, which are both served on Sundays.
TIP: You can ask for seconds of the appetizer you like best.
This stir-fried sweet potato noodles is so far the best version of japche we’ve ever tasted. The texture of the noodles has that perfect bite. The veggies, the meat, and the mushrooms give the dish a well-balanced taste, texture and color. Flavor-wise, this noodle dish bursts with umami and with just the right amount of sweetness. Two out of the roughly 12 to 15 times that we ordered it, it was underseasoned, but still a solid 4 stars at that.
This cow face soup is very light yet equally deep and rich. The portion is quite small, but the vegetables and off-cut meat pieces are quite generous. Bean sprouts and leeks make this dish taste fresh and balanced, while tender and well-prepared off-cuts make it more filling.
Note: We were already almost half-way through our meal when we remembered to take photos of this and the next two dishes. Sorry for making them seem so “underportioned”…
This is a perfectly cooked meat dish. The beef cuts are nicely grilled – flavorful and tender – even if it’s cooked well-done. No gravy or dipping sauce is necessary for you to appreciate these in-bone cuts of beef.
This is another perfectly cooked meat dish. It’s a plateful of tender pork pieces flavored with a tangy-sweet-spicy fermented (maybe soy-based) sauce that gives your taste buds that knock-out punch. Onions, leeks and carrots make its sweetness naturally wonderful. Eat this dish with their lovely short-grained white rice and you’ll find yourself closing your eyes in satisfaction.
Although not that sweet and fragrant, this free “dessert” is a very thoughtful ending to a very satisfying meal.
Total Damage @ PhP1,500 (no service charge)
Even if we’ve never had a traditionally home-cooked Korean meal, this is certainly how one must be like. Every dish is cooked with love that you can taste it with every bite. The dishes are nothing fancy, but are done with utmost care and attention. Every single component in each dish serves a purpose. Nothing unnecessary is added, just like how one cooks at home.
The staff is very competent. All the servers are pleasing, knowledgeable and quick. Each table has a service button and our special requests are always accommodated.
Value for Money:
Prices are comparable with other family-style Korean restaurants. But considering the quality of the dishes, the cleanliness of the place, and the good service, this Korean resto probably gives the best worth for your won… este peso pala!
P.S. Ala-carte prices may seem expensive especially in lieu of portions. However, because they give out free banchan and dessert, they are just priced reasonably.
TIP: For groups of 4 or more, set meals are the most sulit.
Will We Go Back?
Ever since our first visit, we’ve been frequenting this place with family and friends. This place never failed to wow our company and has even made most of them patrons like us.
Location: Lot 20 Block 13, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue (C-5), Libis, Quezon City
Contact No.: +63-2-655-6088
Hours: Mon-Sun @ 11am-11pm
Let our palates and our pockets be your guide,